Preview: NC Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary Arrives Nov. 19

Opens Nov. 19 though Jan. 9
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The NC Chinese Lantern Festival

One of the better known festivals in the Triangle, the NC Chinese Lantern Festival is back at Koka Booth Amphitheater. This year marks the 6th year it’s been held in Cary. Marvel at the luminous display of lanterns from twilight to nightfall from Nov. 19-Jan. 9. Prices vary from $15-35 and are on sale now. Below are some helpful hints and details to make the most of your evening.


Upon entering you’ll scan a QR code to to have access to the digital program. It includes an overview, map, schedule, lantern descriptions, a video, selfie suggestions, fun facts, and cafe menu. There are 37 stops on the map containing 11 highlights, 30 lantern areas, and 7 interaction areas. In all, there are more than 2,500 lanterns to ohh and aww at.

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Digital Program

The Path

After checking-in, the first stop will be the Palace Lantern Corridor, a long entranceway filled with yellow, pink, and red lanterns resembling the wealth and luxury of an emperor. Then, the path will open up and spill into the open field. Head to your left for the cafe and refreshments, head to the right for the suggested route, or go onto the grass for some interactive sound and light-up stations. No matter which way you go, you’ll get to see everything since it’s set-up in somewhat of a circle. The expected time to view everything is about 45-75 minutes.

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Palace Lantern Corridor


Along your walk, make sure to check-out the highlights. Favorite displays include the Peacock, the Crescent Deck Lantern Corridor, the Chinese Dragon, and the Wisteria Gallery. Surprisingly, the Chinese Dragon is longer than 3 school buses at 200ft long. Furthermore, it’s 21ft high and weighs 1,800lbs. Watch your clock to catch one of three nightly acrobatic cultural arts performances. The showtimes are at 6:30, 7:30p, and 8:30pm on the Koka Booth Amphitheater Stage. Afterwards, indulge at the food trucks which can be found on Friday & Saturday nights or check-out the Crescent Cafe or Cobblestone Courtyard open nightly.

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The Chinese Dragon


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